The Role of Magnetic Shear in Reconnection-Driven Flare Energy Release


Using observations from the Solar Dynamics Observatory's Atmosphere Imaging Assembly and the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, we present novel measurements of the shear of post-reconnection flare loops (PRFLs) in SOL20141218T21:40 and study its evolution with respect to magnetic reconnection and flare emission. Two quasi-parallel ribbons form adjacent to the magnetic polarity inversion line (PIL), spreading in time first parallel to the PIL and then mostly in a perpendicular direction. We measure magnetic reconnection rate from the ribbon evolution, and also the shear angle of a large number of PRFLs observed in extreme ultraviolet passbands (≲1 MK). For the first time, the shear angle measurements are conducted using several complementary techniques allowing for a cross-validation of the results. In this flare, the total reconnection rate is much enhanced before a sharp increase of the hard X-ray emission, and the median shear decreases from 60∘-70∘ to 20∘, on a time scale of ten minutes. We find a correlation between the shear-modulated total reconnection rate and the non-thermal electron flux. These results confirm the strong-to-weak shear evolution suggested in previous observational studies and reproduced in numerical models, and also confirm that, in this flare, reconnection is not an efficient producer of energetic non-thermal electrons during the first ten minutes when the strongly sheared PRFLs are formed. We conclude that an intermediate shear angle, ≤40∘, is needed for efficient particle acceleration via reconnection, and we propose a theoretical interpretation.


copyright Cornell University Press 2023


Magnetic Shear, reconnection-driven flare, energy release


Qiu, J., M. Alaoui, S. K. Antiochos, J. T. Dahlin, M. Swisdak, J. F. Drake, A. Robison, C. R. DeVore, and V. M. Uritsky. "The Role of Magnetic Shear in Reconnection-Driven Flare Energy Release." arXiv preprint arXiv:2306.14419 (2023).
Copyright (c) 2002-2022, LYRASIS. All rights reserved.